Souper Sunday Afternoon

Friday, December 17, 2010

soup recipes

The predicted storm did not materialize over the weekend, but the weather was still cold enough to enjoy a roaring fire all day long. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon with the wind billowing outside and grey clouds hanging low enough you felt like you could reach up a grab them. It was one of those days when you spent more time inside than out.

Weather like this cries out for food that’s warm and soothing. It calls out for a steaming, bubbling pot of soup; the kind that fills the house with aroma of herbs and spices; vegetables and meat.

When Brianne was younger I would send her to school with a thermos of piping hot soup almost every day of winter. It became the running joke in our house that “mom could make soup out of anything” and it wasn’t far off. Give me a leftover chicken carcass or a doggie bag of beef from a recent restaurant trip, along with a few veggies from the fridge and a small amount of pasta, rice or barley from the pantry and I could whip it into a steaming, hearty pot of soup, perfect for two.

We still eat a lot of soup during the winter months, transformed from a variety of leftovers or created from ingredients in our pantry. But, our creations are a bit more elaborate as our tastes have changed and our desires for more exotic creations have grown.

So, if old man winter gives you the cold shoulder fend him off with a simmering pot of soup. Paired with a salad and a warm loaf of homemade bread smothered in butter, you have the perfect cold day meal. Tonight’s soup…

Pasta Fagioli

Pasta e fagioli

2 pounds – ground beef
1 each – onion, chopped fine
3 each – carrots, chopped fine
4 each – stalks celery, chopped fine
28 oz – diced tomatoes, undrained (canned or homemade)
16 oz – red kidney beans, drained (if using dried, soak overnight)
16 oz – white kidney beans, drained (if using dried, soak overnight)
30 oz – beef broth (canned or homemade)
3 tsp – oregano
2 tsp – pepper
5 tsp – parsley
20 oz – spaghetti sauce (canned or homemade)
8 oz – small shell pasta

Brown beef in skillet; drain fat and add to crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients, except past to crock pot and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. During last 30 minutes add pasta. Makes 12 servings. Top each bowl with parmesan cheese if desired.
Serve with warm focaccia bread and salad.
This is a great recipe for using up that chicken carcass.

It’s amazing how much meat is left on a carcass when it’s cooked down. Before starting, put carcass in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to simmer for about an hour. Remove carcass and place on a cutting board to cool. Reserve 4 cups of broth, remaining can be ladled into freezer containers for later use. When carcass has cooled, pull off as much meat as you can. The recipe below is based on 2 cups of meat.

Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

4 cups – chicken stock, or 14 ounces of canned broth
2 cups – chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup – orzo pasta
2 eggs
Juice from 1 large lemon (or to your personal preference)
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
Italian parsley

In a stock pot, combine 1 cup of water and broth, bring to a rapid simmer, add orzo and cook according to package directions. Add chicken to pot. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice. Whisking constantly, slowly pour 1 cup hot broth into egg mixture, immediately whisk egg mixture into stock pot. Season soup with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley. Makes 2 large servings.
Serve with warm pita and hummus, and a salad of lettuce, red onion, tomato, Kalamata olives and Feta cheese with Greek dressing.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jessicafm and recipegirl

Creative Commons License photo credit: randomcuriosity

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